It’s time to look at ten of the best and most surprising scenes of the Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 film, holding nothing back. If you’ve yet to see it, simply save this page for later when you have!
Here we go . . .
- First Dream Sequence
One of the fun things about the Twilight Saga is that the books and films play around a lot with dream sequences. There are two in this installment, but the first one was the most surprising. “Bella” (Kristen Stewart) dreams that she’s walking down the aisle – only, she’s not the only one in white. Her friends, family (both present and future), and groom are all decked out in white as well. Something’s off about this; we can tell that much right away. It’s not until she’s at the altar, though, that we figure out it’s all her imagination. She turns to find “Aro” (Michael Sheen), “Marcus” (Christopher Heyerdahl), and “Caius” (Jamie Campbell Bower) perched where an officiant should be, and “Edward” (Robert Pattinson) has a bit of blood on his lip. She comes to find blood on her hands and then discovers that her loved ones are now part of a pile of corpses. Immediately, we learn that this is her version of pre-wedding jitters, but it also seems to symbolize a more latent fear of hers – that she’s about to become a ravenous newborn who can’t control her thirst, resulting in the demise of everyone she loves. “I know I can do this,” she earlier told her groom, but the fact is that she’s still not absolutely sure.
- The Big Day
The wedding of “Bella” and “Edward” was always bound to be one monumental affair when it came to this film, and luckily, it was perfect. Director Bill Condon gave a few nods to his friend Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight‘s director) in this scene by incorporating “Flightless Bird, American Mouth” as the music of choice as well as a pan around the couple. This was very resemblant of Twilight‘s prom scene, when “Bella” tells “Edward” she dreams of being with him forever. At the moment their vows are said, that dream has begun to come true for her, and it was an exceedingly appropriate time to pay that homage to Twilight. Other things to like about the wedding scene, of course, included the dress reveal, the sweetness of delivery in the vow lines, the toasts – both hilarious and deeply emotional, and, of course, “Charlie Swan” (Billy Burke). At the end of the day, this was a scene that just could not go wrong, and it didn’t. Oh, and the wink to Twilight fans by including Stephenie Meyer among the guests was much appreciated as well.
- The First Time
There was a lot to look forward to from the first time “Bella” and “Edward” celebrated their matrimony in this film, and this was another element which was handled well in the film. First of all, the sequence sticks closely to the book, by having the couple start out in the moonlit beach. There’s a lot of humor to seeing her wake up to the shattered bed and scattered feathers, but then Condon takes a very romantic approach to sharing more from the night by letting the audience re-live it with “Bella” as she remembers little flashes here and there. On-screen, it’s sweet and sensuous and just enough.
The first time was the last time for a while, since “Edward” was angry with himself for bruising “Bella,” so it takes some convincing on her part to make him give it another try. This part could’ve been awkward or melodramatic, but instead, the choice was to make it mostly funny. “Bella” parades around in the little pieces of lingere “Alice” has packed for her, and “Edward” finds her efforts both amusing and, obviously, tempting. He staves her off by taking her on little field trips across the island, which were shot well and play with “Edward’s” vampire speed. All the while, a game of literal and metaphorical chess is on-going between them. Her second dream, then, is when she wins and has convinced him. When she wakes to find reality unchanged, she’s crushed. He has no choice but to give in, despite his best efforts. In all, this was a nice translation of that part of the story.
- Jacob Breaks Off
When “Jacob” (Taylor Lautner) comes to discover that not only is “Bella” sick, but she’s also pregnant with a half-vampire, half-human hybrid who’s destroying her from the inside out, he has some decisions to make. His wolfpack’s leader “Sam” (Chaske Spencer) wants him to join their fight to kill “Bella” and destroy the seemingly dangerous fetus. This he cannot do. “Jacob” fights off the compulsion to submit and declares his independence from the pack. This scene, done in wolf form with Condon’s other new addition, wolfpack telepathy, was intense, loud, and wicked. My favorite part of this was the realism of the dominance effort between “Sam” and “Jacob,” which quite likened to the behavior of canines with the snarls and reluctantly bowed head. Later, once the separation is complete, both “Seth” (Booboo Stewart) and “Leah” (Julia Jones) have book-faithful exchanges with “Jacob” to convince him they belong with him. Those were also very nice.
- Bella and Rosalie
The least likely of partnerships – that of “Bella” and “Rosalie” (Nikki Reed) – develops in Breaking Dawn, mostly out of necessity, and this played out well on-screen. “Rosalie” is a stickler for the use of the term “baby” rather than “fetus,” and she stays close to “Bella” throughout the pregnancy. One surprise of this relationship comes when “Rosalie” draws “Bella” a bath, disrobing to reveal her sickly thin back and shoulders, which “Edward” observes with terror. “Rosalie,” seeing this, shuts him out of view. That moment was pretty shocking but it brought some gravity and real fear to the situation, which was helpful in making everything feel authentic later on.
- Bella Drinking Blood
The scene which grabbed the most gasps in my midnight screening was the one in which “Bella” drinks blood. By this point, she looks so pitiful it’s impossible not to support her decision to try drinking it. After all, what’s inside of her is part vampire, and that’s what they do. When “Carlisle” announces he’s had some O-negative in stock for “Bella,” her hungry brothers-in-law look a bit defiled, which is humorous enough to lend a laugh to the largely disturbing moment. Still, when you see that liquid come up through the straw and stain her lips, you can’t help but feel a bit squeamish . . . which is the exact response the scene should draw.
- Birth and Death
With one crack of the spine, the time has come. “Edward” is now pro-baby, having heard its thoughts for himself and learned that it, like “Bella,” is pure of heart and means well. So he makes an effort, rather than just changing her right then and there, to save it and help her deliver safely. Unfortunately, this means indescribable pain and gore for “Bella.” There’s no other way to put it, really: this scene is gruesome, both in book and film form. The choice to show certain aspects of it (like “Edward” gnashing at her stomach in vampire cesarean-style or the infant thrashing around and demolishing her rib cage) from “Bella’s” perspective was smart and probably saved the ratings on this scene, but seeing her lifeless body afterward is still extremely wince-worthy. This scene wasn’t dialed down very much, and that is itself very surprising. What comes later – the desperation of “Edward” to save her, the venom injection to the heart, and the glimpse at what “Bella” is feeling though not showing as her body courses with even more pain – is also just as mad and, in its way, satisfying.
Daunting though that last bit was, the imprinting scene had to be the most tricky of this story. “Jacob” basically falls in love with a newborn that he had just set out to destroy with one look at her eyes. Bill Condon and the team decided to show this not just through a look but by flashing forward to a lifetime of “Renesmee” (Mackenzie Foy). He sees what she is and what she will be and is now grounded to the earth by her and her alone. The future glimpse sells the scene, definitely. It was a good choice.
The first shot we see of “Bella’s” transformation is when her hair evolves from being mousy to majestic. Her skin follows, becoming radiant, smooth, and white. She heals; her face becomes even more beautiful; and, finally, her eyes pop open to reveal a stunning newborn red. This was the perfect ending for Breaking Dawn – Part 1 not just because it’s a lead-in for Part 2 but also because it shows that “Bella” was right all along. She did survive. She was just strong enough. The flashes of her human life, as shown in the former films and an adorable look at “Charlie” and “Renee” (Sarah Clarke) when they held their own little baby girl, close out the story of “Human Bella.” That part of Twilight is over, tough though it was. We know that the final installment to the Saga will come with a new set of challenges and desires, and we are left on the edges our seats for November 16th, 2012.